- Wen is not known for his funk: his brooding productions tend to be more concerned with weight and sinister atmosphere. But in his best moments, the young producer achieves a kind of austere grooviness, moulding negative space into seductive new shapes. This quality is played down on the Finesse EP. Perhaps Tectonic boss Pinch was drawn to productions more similar to his own house-tempo music, which often relies on bass pressure and brute force to carry it forward. The result, at least on "Backdraft," is frustrating. The track's cavernous spaces and thoughtfully arranged percussion are standard-issue Wen, and there's an impressive heft to its whooshing bassline. What's lacking is propulsion; all of a sudden the 10 BPM difference between Wen's music and the dubstep he references is painfully apparent.
Better is "Finesse," in which a carefully repositioned rim shot causes the beat to flicker between moody abstraction and a ghoulish garage flex. The track's bass stabs are like ice cubes down the neck, and the wisps of backwards vocal wafting over the second drop call to mind Shackleton at his bleakest. On "Ghost," meanwhile, Wen ramps up the tempo for a stab at contemporary drum & bass. Perhaps it should come as no surprise that he sounds just as polished and proficient at this new tempo. If anything, his sometimes-ponderous music benefits from the injection of energy.